The co-owner of Amigo Supermarket, Mustapha Fawaz and two Lebanese – Abdalah Tahini and Talal Rouda– who were arrested over the uncovering of alleged Hezbolla armoury in Bompai, Kano State, have threatened legal action against the State Security Service.
In a letter to the Director of SSS, Ekpeyong Ita on Monday, their lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, lamented that the trio had been detained beyond 24 hours without being charged with an offence.
According to him, the action of the security agency violates Section 35 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and a plethora of judicial authorities, particularly those of the Supreme Court.
The human rights activist consequently demanded that the fundamental rights of his clients be respected, either by releasing them or that charges be preferred against them before a court of competent jurisdiction for them to prove their innocence.
Failure to do this within 48 hours, Aturu said he would have no choice than to go to court and seek redress on behalf of his clients.
In the June 3 letter entitled, ‘Re: Continued incarceration without trial of Mustapha Fawaz, Abdalah Tahini and Talal Rouda’, and a copy made available to one of our correspondents, Aturu revealed that Fawaz had been in detention since May 16 when he was arrested at about 4am.
Contrary to some reports, he revealed that Fawaz is a Nigerian by birth and not a Lebanese.
He also stated in the letter that Tahini and Rouda were arrested on May 17 and 28 respectively and had, since the various dates of arrest, been in detention at the facilities of the SSS.
Aturu said “Indeed and apparently as a follow-up action, we have been reliably informed that security operatives shut down Amigo Supermarket on the 31st of May, 2013 and arrested scores of persons, who were either staff or customers of the supermarket. Since their arrest, we have also been told they have been held incommunicado and been denied access to members of their families, lawyers and doctors. Perhaps, more worrisomely, no charge has been preferred against any of our clients in any court of law for any known offence.”
Aturu demanded that the suspects be granted access to lawyers, members of their families and doctors within 48 hours “in accordance with their undoubted rights under both Nigerian and international law.”
Aturu said, “Take notice that if our demands are not acceded to on or before Wednesday, June 5, 2013, we shall be compelled to take all lawful and necessary steps to ensure that the rights of our clients are protected.”
Efforts to get the comment of the SSS did not yield any fruit as its spokesperson, Ms. Marilyn Ogar, didn’t respond to calls to her telephone.
Also, a text message was not responded to.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Customs Service on Monday said it had beefed up security along the nation’s borders to curtail the influx of arms and ammunition into the country.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr Wale Adeniyi said this during a telephone interview with one of our correspondents.
Adeniyi told one of our correspondents that the agency had reviewed its patrol strategies to make it very difficult for terrorists to carry out operations with arms and ammunition illegally imported into the country.
For instance, he hinted that lot of seizures had been made within the past few months at the ports and warehouses.
He said, “The seizures are not only for the security agencies only, we are also making seizures and just last week we announced the seizure of 56,000 ammunitions and we are also making seizures in the port, warehouse and everywhere.”
Photo courtesy 247ureports
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